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Having hot soup to comfort you in the cold of winter is just so soothing that it warms not only your body but your soul as well. I almost always gorge on noodle soups (instant or otherwise) when the weather is cold (or freezing!) or whenever I find myself having a hungover in the morning after an alcohol-fuelled party the night before.

If I do find time to cook my favourite soup, I like to prepare Bulalo! Native to Southern Luzon, Bulalo is a clear soup made by boiling beef shank or osso bucco and marrow bones. This is such a simple dish that you can even multi-task while cooking it. As this is a soup, it does not matter much if you boil it all the way through or slow cook (about 2.5 hours) it as most of the flavor from the beef will be savoured in the broth anyway. The meat will still be as tender and should fall off the bone.

The flavour of the soup can be enhanced by adding your favorite herbs, spices and vegetables which also add depth, color and crunch to the dish.  Some people I know add noodles to the soup to make it a complete meal but personally I prefer having it with hot steamed rice and lots of sauce made by combining soy sauce, calamansi or lime juice and chopped shallots and chili. But then again that's just me! : )

Ingredients:

750 grams beef shank (osso bucco)
1 head of garlic (peeled and crushed)
1 large Spanish onion (sliced)
black peppercorn
1 tbsp. of sliced ginger (optional)
salt to taste
green beans or string/snake beans, cut into 5cm length
                (about 1 1/2 cups)
pak choy or Chinese cabbage, cut into 5cm length
2 medium sized sweet corn, cut in halves

Method:
1. Put the washed beef shank in a pot then pour enough water to cover it.
2. Add the garlic, onion, peppercorn and ginger. Cover the pot and boil for 1 hour or until the meat is tender.
3. Add in the green beans and young corn and cook further for 7 minutes. Season with salt.
4. Add in the pak choy then turn the heat off immediately then serve!